As we enter the cold and dreary time of year there are many people who find it difficult to remain at peace and hopeful with our long, dark, cold, and wet days. You might be surprised to learn that your diet can help bring back some of that balance, and not just in the winter but all year-long.
Years ago I read articles that spoke of schools and prisons changing the quality of the foods that their kitchens offered and that the results showed both children and prison inmates were better able to concentrate and were better able to control their impulses. While the prison inmates were given supplements, it appears that the children were given better quality food and had stronger improvements. (sorry, I can’t find the follow-up articles. but if you have a link, I’d love it if you’d share it with me)
What intrigues me about this is that we can make a profound change in how we feel by eating better food, and instinctually we’ve always known this. We’ve had traditional comfort foods for a very, very long time. Not only do these traditional comfort foods help us when we are ill, but they can help bring us into balance when we are down too.
One of those “feel better foods” is bone broth made from clean animals. Continue reading
The phrase “nutrient dense food” is a hot one these days! What does this phrase really mean? Basically it speaks of the ratio of nutrients in food. But what is this ratio in relation to?
When we look at our food labels and see how much of a nutrient is found in that food item, what we are seeing is the value of each listed nutrient based on how many calories are in one serving. The ratio looks like this: Total Fat per Calorie, Protein per Calorie, Iron per Calorie. Foods that offer many vitamins and minerals without excessive calories are considered nutrient dense. Leafy greens are considered by many to be the most nutrient dense foods. Remember, nutrient density is determined by how many calories are in the food. You might remember from your high school chemistry class that a calorie is a unit of energy. Our food labels today are based on a suggested diet of 2,000 calories per day (though many of us don’t need so much energy every day). These food labels tell us the percentage of our daily minimum requirements of selected nutrients per calorie in a serving of that particular food.
While this sounds great is is also a bit confusing and inconvenient. Most of us consume our meals based on satiety, not caloric intake – meaning that we eat our meals when we are hungry and we eat until we feel full. Continue reading
One of our goals is to revive the good traditions of our ancestors that kept our people alive for millennia. Things like living simply and appreciating life are critical to our mental, emotional, and physical health. But today it’s so easy to get so caught up in what is good for us and what is bad for us. It seems like every day we hear something unsettling about something we enjoy or thought was for our benefit. It sometimes feels like we just can’t win no matter what! In truth, life isn’t supposed to be that stressful.
There are many young people in our lives who are starting their own families or are dreaming of their future families and they are starting to take a serious look at what they need to learn and do to give their children the best start they can. Part of that strong start includes getting themselves healthy today and learning new, and sometimes very old, traditions. After all, at conception there are 3 generations being cared for and nourished at once: Mom, Baby, and Grandbaby. Have you ever thought about that? When a baby is born his/her reproductive cells are already formed: a girl is born with all of the eggs she will have throughout her life and a boy is born with his seed ready for the final transition but the reproductive material is fully formed. Three generations all at once being nourished and cared for when a woman is pregnant! Not to put any extra pressure on anyone, but this is a wonderful and incredible thing. What we do today matters and it matters for a long time. It’s such a blessing to learn how we can positively effect our families for generations to come, even when they’re only a sparkle in our dreams.
The other day I listened to this podcast and thought it was well worth sharing with our friends here. Hillary Boynton talks about Simple and Fearless Healthy Living and shares a bit about what she’s learned about health, food, and life from the generation of our grandparents and great-grandparents. It was encouraging and fun to hear. She has some encouragement and suggestions for how people can strengthen their health and start new traditions in the family that will benefit generations yet to come.
When searching for a more natural way to manage our allergies we discovered stinging nettle. Yes, stinging nettle! There are many positives of stinging nettle: its leaves are highly nutritious wild food consumed either dried (as a tea, for example) or steamed. Nettle is high in iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and D, and it is said that nettle is one of the world’s most chlorophyll-rich plants. Young plants taste best. Herbalists love nettle as a highly nutritive tonic with a great many uses, some of which are treatment of anemia, arthritis and gout, dropsy, hemorrhoids, swollen prostate and benign prostatic hypertrophy (bph), rheumatism, sciatica, lymphatic ailments, expelling gravel or stones from any organ but particularly the kidneys, infertility and with regard to regulating aspects of women’s monthly cycles and postpartum, as a blood cleanser, to expel mucus from all parts of the body, a treatment for worms, and more. Plus, nettles do not contain salicylates, which is a boon for those with salicylate sensitivities or allergies.
But our family and friends use nettle primarily for moderate allergies, and part of the regimen for those of us with severe allergies. The properties of the stinging nettle help to address the histamine response (it is classified as an antihistamine) and it address inflammation which is what is behind things like post nasal drip or a runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes. When our bodies are feeling under attack they produce a way to flush the offending particles away from the body, tears or mucus. When the inflammation is addressed, the symptoms are reduced.
So many of our friends have found relief when they use our stinging nettle tincture that I thought it was a good idea to make a series of short videos to explain the entire process of preparing our nettle tincture.
Years ago we learned that Native Americans used pumpkin to cure kidney infections and rid the body of worms, and the leaves of the pumpkins may be crushed and rubbed on as a fly repellent. Not only this but pumpkins are safe for livestock to eat. So we contacted some friends who had a pumpkin patch and asked if after the pumpkin patch season was over if we could buy some of their left overs. They were thrilled to have someone help clean up the unwanted pumpkins and when we returned home with pickup truck loads of pumpkin we were delighted to find that the flock was equally delighted to have fresh pumpkin! That winter we made sure they had a steady supply of pumpkins in their feed area. With each new pumpkin they made games of rolling it around and breaking it open.
But, fresh pumpkin is a seasonal thing. And what is actually helping with parasite management in the digestive tract is a compound found in the pumpkin seed called cucurbitin. Cucurbitin affects parasites by paralyzing them so they can no longer attach to the body and they are expelled from the digestive tract naturally. Continue reading